(Madison, Wis)—A lawsuit was filed Tuesday against Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”) and Natural Resources Board, asking the Court to stay the DNR’s recently approved rules allowing the use of dogs to hunt wolves.
The Plaintiffs include Wisconsin hunters, landowners, ecologists, volunteer trackers, and community humane societies, who object to the state-sanctioned use of dogs to hunt wolves without the restrictions needed to prevent deadly animal fighting in violation of Wisconsin animal cruelty law.
In addition to Carl Sinderbrand of Axley Brynelson, LLP, the plaintiffs will also be represented by Jodi Habush Sinykin and Robert L. Habush of Habush, Habush & Rottier, S.C.
According to Plaintiffs’ filings with the Court, other than prohibiting wolf hunting with dogs at night, the DNR has failed to impose restrictions on training and hunting with dogs as necessary to comply with the statutory directive that dogs be used to “track or trail” wolves and to curtail unsafe proximity between dogs and wolves.
Evidence submitted as part of the lawsuit, through expert affidavits, points to the high risk of hunting dogs suffering severe injuries or being killed during engagement with wolves in the absence of restrictions that prevent the risk of direct physical encounters between the two canine species.
Plaintiffs’ filings in Dane County Circuit Court seek declaratory judgment and injunctive relief to stop the DNR from issuing licenses that authorize the use of dogs for wolf hunting until reasonable restrictions are promulgated to provide adequate protections for dogs and to prevent the risk of deadly physical encounters between dogs and wolves.
“As Plaintiffs in this matter, we are grateful that a Judge will have the opportunity to take a close look at the rules’ shortcomings,” states Pam McCloud Smith, executive director of Dane County Humane Society and Board President of Wisconsin Federated Humane Societies, whose members include more than forty humane societies throughout Wisconsin; “The DNR’s inaction in the face of known risks and harm to animals is not in accord with either Wisconsin animal cruelty protections or our values regarding humane treatment of animals.”